A global comparative study based on the analysis of information supplied by over 130 parliamentary chambers and supplemented with information contained in the IPU's Parline database and collection of basic documentation on parliaments. Focuses on the nature, duration and exercise of the parliamentary mandate, offering a comparative analysis of world-wide practice in this field. Also addresses the issue of the legal and material resources available or that should be made available to the parliamentarians in the performance of their mandate. The author concludes that the special rights to which parliamentarians are entitled are not meant to place them above the law but rather to ensure that they perform this mandate, entrusted to them by the people, in an independent an unhindered fashion. Written by Mr. Marc Van der Hulst, Chief of the Legal Service of the Belgian Chamber of Deputies.